Monday, February 21, 2011

God of the Few?

"The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act."  (2 Peter 3:9, GWT)

God had already put it on my heart to pen this post prior to something that happened to me this weekend.  Many of you may be unaware of this, but in my "spare" time I have been deeply involved in legislative advocacy for people with bleeding disorders since at least 2005.  I have spoken with many lawmakers, staffers and policy advisers on both the state and national level.  I am deeply familiar with and unintimidated by Washington, DC, and my car knows how to drive to my state capitol in Madison, WI by itself.  I have shared our personal stories of living with hemophilia as well as trying to share practical solutions to medical care issues.

For those who watch the news, you may be aware that this is a wildly historic time in Madison, WI.  A new governor and his bold proposals have led to loud, crowded protests and contentious behavior at our state capitol.  As you can imagine, that puts me in an interesting position.  And I find several people getting in my face as I take personal stands on issues.  Rhetoric ratchets up as people judge my Christianity in this process.  And that's where the theme of this post is birthed.

You see, Jesus is blind to our politics.  There was no one He wouldn't meet with -- Jew, Samaritan, rich, poor, well-behaved, rebellious, smart, frustrating.  He put up with 12 guys who never seemed to "get it" in the 3 years they spent under his tutelage.  He called a spade a spade, but loved anyway.  He healed both friend and foe.  He forgave with one of his final breaths.

So why is it that people think it's okay to assault the character of those with whom they disagree?  When did we start to put a political view before personal relationships?  Why must we dig in and not agree to disagree when we don't espouse the same solutions to problems?  Why don't we ever seem to see that we may have the same goals, but believe in different ways to get there?  When did we begin to think it's okay to not segregate a person's personal life from their work life - showing up at lawmaker's homes and harassing their wives and children?

When I arrived at church on Sunday, I found a copy of a letter in the ministry's mailbox from a leader who opposes my personal political view.  Shamefully, it was left anonymously.  However, I am fully aware that it was left by an individual who had been opposing me on my personal Facebook page. 

I am always open to hearing the views of others and debating them personally.  However, the ministry is one area where an individual like that dare not tread!  SNAPPIN' ministers to black, white, hispanic, and any other nationality.  We minister to Christians, Jews, Muslims and even one family that practices Wicca.  We have helped extremely affluent families as well as those who live in rat-infested homes.  SNAPPIN' is God's hand of comfort, not a political organization.

The bottom line is that Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat!  He believes in love for one another no matter what the beliefs!  And to that end, there is NO place for such political assaults within the walls of the church and its ministries.  It's not that the church should never stand up for what is right when it's in the political arena.  We stand in favor of pro-life, and we also stand in favor of some forms of social justice. When we decide to bring our political smack-downs into the church walls, we fail to work together in obedience to the Lord.  We no longer show the world that we are Christians by our love.  We cease working shoulder to shoulder to advance the compassion of Christ.  That's not okay!
 
Whatever your world view, please remember to love the person even if you hate their ideas.  One of my dearest friends is the polar opposite of me politically.  Although we don't agree on such topics, we both know that we'd walk over hot coals for one another.  We affirm each others loving hearts.  We, as a society, would do well to cultivate more relationships like this because frankly, God is NOT the God of the few, but God of ALL!

3 comments:

  1. I love this. It states a sentiment I share in a big way, and am always saying when I'm with people who malign any religious group. I put it in terms of lack of fairness, as in, "It's totally unfair to say (fill in the blank) about a person because they're Christian." Your line says it best: "God is NOT the God of the few, but God of ALL!" Thank you for this post, which encourages everyone to open their minds, and their hearts.

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  2. Hi Barb,

    I follow you on Twitter as @ed_advocate, which is how I came to this post. It really touches me that you wrote this because I had been thinking about writing something along these lines as well. Not only was Jesus neither Democrat nor Republican, but the Jesus we see in scripture seems to be no fan of politics at all. That said, He clearly recognized the human need for earthly government and advised His followers to submit to authority, so long as such obedience did not conflict with following Him.

    I need to remind myself from time to time to be civil in my discourse. In our polarized society this is not always easy, but it is how Jesus responded in almost every situation with the exception of the money-lenders in the Temple, but then He acted with righteous (not religious) anger.

    When people who call themselves believers gossip about others, condemn others as "non-believers" because they hold different political views, and act "religiously" rather than righteously, it is no wonder that those outside the church often feel that Christians are hypocrites.

    The church is not an exclusive club. As you wrote, "God is NOT the God of the few, but God of ALL!" Rather than judge, condemn, and exclude, we need to be His hands and feet on Earth, ministering to the needs of the many, so they may hear the Good News, and know the one true God.

    Thanks for your message and for your ministerial work to families with special needs.

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  3. Great points. I believe that in addition to saying that Jesus is neither Democrat nor Republican, at the same time he is also both.

    Christ is all things to all people. he hard thing for us (me!) to swallow is that it usually means he's on the opposite side of where I want to be, coaxing me to either come to him, or at least put myself in the other's shoes to understand their reasoning. Often a bitter pill to swallow, especially in these "tough" times (like they're NEVER tough!).

    I'm heartened by your steadfastness and calm demeanor. Stay the course!

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